Cleanup project in Narita, Japan

This photos shows a slice of life 190 kms. south of Fukushima in Narita, Chiba Prefecture. 

In this area, there was an elevation in radiation levels after the Fukushima Disaster, but these were not high enough to be of great concern (an increase from 0.05 to 0.18 microsieverts per hour). However, it is now possible to find small patches of more heavily contaminated ground. In places where rainwater collected on large, non-porous surfaces and drained onto smaller patches of soil, it is common to find readings from 0.5 to 2.0 microsieverts per hour. It was perhaps risky to disturb this dirt and pack it into bags, but this was my volunteer contribution to the neighborhood. I took all the precautions I could (mask, sunglasses, skin fully covered, washed all clothes and showered immediately afterward). It seemed far riskier to leave it there to blow in the wind and be taken to homes on people's shoes, or to be picked up by children or sniffed by pets. The external gamma radiation is less of a threat than the particles that could blow in the wind and be absorbed internally by people and animals. 
We called city hall the next day to ask park workers to come and remove the bags. The staff was annoyed with our initiative, but then workers quickly came and removed the bags. The police even called us to ask what we were doing, but no officials bothered us after this. I think they feared any actions against us would just stir up unwanted attention from city residents. 
Apparently, they have a plan to store such waste away from the population, but a thorough cleanup will take some time. It can be sealed off from contact with the environment, but these bags will still be too radioactive for decades.
Another blogger cleaned up a similar spot in Hachioji, on the west side of Tokyo.


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